Batesville Casket Building a World Wide Web Strategy Group Case Analysis: Jennifer Brown Christopher Crowder Patrick Ritger 21 November 2002 ISYS 203: Information Technology Dr. Davis
Presentation Overview This presentation will cover: • History & Overview of Batesville Casket Company • Development of Batesville Casket’s Original Website. • Next Steps for Baskerville Casket’s Website • Possible Alternatives • Outcomes for Suggested Website Strategies.
Batesville Casket History Building a Leading Funerary Business • Founded in 1906 when John Hillenbrand purchased a failing casket company. • Batesville Casket Company is a subsidiary of Hillenbrand Industries, Inc. • Located in Batesville, Illinois. • World’s largest producer of metal and hardwood burial caskets. • Operates 70 distribution warehouses. • Operates several plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico • Serves nearly 22,000 individual funeral homes. John Hillenbrand Founder
Batesville Casket History Organizational Change In early 1996 Batesville Casket Company reorganized its business into a Strategic Business Unit model. The following SBUs were created: • Burial Urns • Premium Products • Standard Metal Caskets • Wooden Caskets • “Essentials” (Composite Materials Caskets)
Initial Website James J. Kuisel’s good idea • In February 1996, James J. Kuisel, head of sales/marketing IT proposed that Batesville Casket develop a website. • Batesville’s goals for the website were: • Promote the value of the funeral in the grieving process. • Educate the public on the options available to them for caskets and other funerary services. • Offer Batesville’s partners catalogs and tools to give customers. • Combat negative press about the funeral industry.
Initial Website Development of Initial Website • Batesville developed the web content by using existing print material. • The site’s design and development was outsourced to a Cincinnati-based advertising agency. The agency had won several awards for excellent web design. • Batesville used Indianapolis-based I-Quest for web hosting. I-Quest offered good prices, and excellent statistics on site traffic.
Initial Website Problems with Implementation • Documents were hard to migrate, sort and manage for implementation. • Website’s design was too image heavy and caused problems with access. Most of these problems were resolved quickly, and as the site moved forward, the revised site logged nearly 2,000 visitors a day.
Moving Forward Batesville well positioned to move forward • Continue to focus website strategy on informing customers about the funerary process, and building relationships with other funerary services. • Use its website as a primary source of information for customers and funerary industry partners. • Continue its relationship with I-Quest for hosting. • Stop outsourcing web development, and begin to develop the site with internal employees. • Build B2B and B2C relationships by offering web-enabled services on the website.
Possible Alternatives Do nothing, and wait and see One option available to Batesville Casket is to continue outsourcing the website development. Batesville would not have to hire or train internal employees, but the process for changes to the site is slowed, and the cost for changes is higher. Additionally, the advertising agency does not have the intimate knowledge about the industry that internal employees possess.
Looking Ahead Batesville’s business can only grow • Batesville’s current market position gives it leverage to use its website to build business. • Current website is a good start, and bringing the development in-house will assure the site remains focused on its goals. • Giving partners catalogs and online ordering will help grow the business, especially in an industry where quick turnaround is critical. • The website can act as a central communications vehicle for the company.
Thank you! Questions?